Reliance Energy, the power distribution arm of Reliance Infrastructure Ltd, has institutionalized a process to install only compact IoT (Internet of Things) substations in new projects coming up in its licensee area in Mumbai. Reliance Energy has installed over 180 such substations over the last two years, and hereon, it expects to 100 IoT-enabled compact substations in Mumbai’s suburbs each year. Incidentally, Reliance Energy has become the first power distribution utility in the country to deploy compact indoor substations. In this special feature on innovation, we take a closer look at IoT-enabled compact substations from Reliance Energy.
The growing population of Mumbai has engendered space constraints, coercing the city to grow vertically. The city spread over 603.4 sqkm is home to some 22 million people, according to recent estimates.
Idea takes birth: As city is growing vertically, RInfra’s biggest challenge to meet the electricity requirement has centered on commissioning of substations in optimal spaces and providing the quality electric supply with high reliability. The company’s in-house talent came with this Internet-of-things (IoT)-ready compact power substation that will free up precious urban space in and around housing societies.
Saving time and space: One conventional power substation (see photo) typically takes 40 sqm space and around three-four months for installation, mainly on account of the civil work required. The new compact substation takes up just 8 sqm, which means a saving of 80 per cent space. Besides, installation of compact substations takes a mere 21 days. Compact substations are fixed with anti-corrosive monomeric vinyl posters with environmental awareness messages to improve aesthetic look as well as reduce painting cost of metallic structure.
Inside a Smart Compact Substation
The substation is single enclosure and consists of distribution transformer, 11kV switchgear, Automatic Power Factor Controller (APFC) and field remote terminal units (FRTU). The compact substation is fully digital and the equipments inside are remotely monitored and controlled from centralized control centre. Latest wireless communication technology (4G/3G routers) is used to communicate the data from substations to centralized control on a real time basis.
The IoT-ready substations are equipped with sensors for real-time monitoring of temperature, intrusion attempt, fire, current and voltage in all the substation equipment. Besides, these hi-tech substations are dry type and can be easily installed as an integral part of the building structure, while adhering to all statutory compliances and public safety.
The sensors installed inside the substation are integrated with SCADA (supervisory control & data acquisition) systems enabling real-time monitoring of voltage, current profiles, operating status, temperatures & control of electrical equipments, which enables preventive steps to preempt faults and avoid undesired power interruption to customers.
In case of any exigencies, such as intrusion or fire inside the substation, alarms are automatically sent to central control centre for immediate action to resolve the issues. APFC panels are installed to improve the power factor which in turn reduces the technical losses in the network.
With compact substations, Reliance Energy will benefit by reduced cost and increased ease of asset maintenance, apart from safe and reliable operations of electrical network.
Project developers and builders can give possession of apartments to the home owners much faster. Besides, the drastic reduction in the space required for installation of transformers would help builders and housing society members to utilize the space for other use such as vehicle parking, garden, community centre, etc, while still maintaining 24×7 reliable & quality power supply for their buildings.